Loss leaves India’s qualification hope in tatters, though the boy’s spirited display and efficiency garnered praise from the coach...
The Indian U-19 team suffered a demoralizing defeat against Uzbekistan in the ongoing U-19 Asian Football Federation’s (AFC) Championship qualifiers in Doha, where they lost 3-0 to the highest ranked opponents in Group A. The match was played at the Al Arabi stadium.
It was India who started the brighter, especially Daniel Lalhlimpuia who caused problems for the Uzbek full-backs down the right and it was his dangerous cross to find Udanta in the opposition box that was successfully intercepted.
Abidev Asliddin too let a chance slip by as he shot wide in the opening ten minutes as Uzbekistan sat back and positioned themselves to counter-attack and thus they made the Indians concede a fair few corners in the opening quarter of the game.
The young Blue Tigers had a good number of opportunities to cause havoc in the Uzbek defense and on one such occasion, an attack down the left saw Udanta and Germanpreet Singh link up beautifully, with the former cutting inside the box only to go down in the box, although, the referee saw no infringement and allowed the game to carry on.
India kept attacking in the half but paid the penalty for not taking their chances as Abidev scored for the opposition, from close range and into the lower right corner, having been set up by Azimov Sardorbek after the latter had beaten Gurba Gagrai, down the left hand side.
As the second half began, the score-line aggravated in favour of the Uzbeks as they doubled their lead through Davlatov Bobir in the 51st minute, having been set-up by Abdiev, who had a blinder of a night.
Abidev them climbed onto the score-sheet again, with his second on the night to cap an impressive performance as Uzbekistan raced away into a three nil lead in the 62nd minute.
SK Faiaz and Uttam Rai saw their efforts miss the target and saved by the goalkeeper respectively as the Indians came close to reducing the deficit but were unable to do so.
The loss leaves India stranded in their group with three points in as many games with Uzbekistan going to the top with nine points.
Speaking after the game, Coach Colin Toal, head coach of the young team elucidated, “We played against a very good side. The best part from our perspective is that we kept them going for the entire 93 minutes. We had some good spells especially at the end of the first half. There was a penalty shout which I feel on another day may have been given.”
“Against such a strong opposition you do need decisions to go your way and we were having a good spell at that time. Nevertheless, the stronger team won and I am happy that the Boys never let their shoulders droop,” concluded Toal.
The Indian team take on Turkmenistan next on the 12th October.
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